Each spring, hundreds of Alzheimer advocates from across the country descend on Washington, D.C. for the Alzheimer’s Association Advocacy Forum. Chapter CEO Cathy James and chief communications officer Jared Paventi were among record-breaking 750 people in attendance. This year marked the first time in the forum’s 24 years that all 50 states and District of Columbia were represented (we also had friends from Alzheimer’s Disease International and Canada’s Alzheimer’s Society on hand).
Cathy and Jared were joined by Connie Burnham of Rome. Connie, who’s family has been affected by Alzheimer’s disease, joined us for the educational program on Tuesday and our visits to Capitol Hill on Wednesday.
Speaking of those visits, more than 50 advocates from New York packed meeting rooms and hallways to visit representatives from Sens. Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand before embarking on their individual meetings with members of the House of Representatives. Cathy, Jared, Connie, and Connie’s daughter Christina (who joined us Wednesday) met with Rep. Bill Owens and Anne Marie Buerkle, as well as staff from the offices of Rep. Maurice Hinchey and Rep. Richard Hanna.
We also took part in two other special events at the forum. On Tuesday, Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, spoke to advocates about the National Alzheimer’s Plan and President Obama’s commitment to defeating the disease. Later that evening, the Alzheimer’s Association honored a number of individuals, including University of Tennessee Head Coach Emeritus Pat Summitt, at the National Alzheimer’s Dinner.